“Everybody wants the Stones,” Xen Riggs said about competition between major cities to host stadium-tour concerts.
“Cleveland would have been very viable. Cincinnati would have been very viable … so we were thrilled to get this to Columbus,” he said Thursday.
Ohio’s capital will get the Rolling Stones, with opener Kid Rock, May 30 in the first of three concerts that Riggs, associate vice president for the Schottenstein Center, has helped book at Ohio Stadium this summer.
Cities like Columbus compete for shows like these for the same reasons they vie for presidential nominating conventions and the Olympics: the major boost in traffic also brings a boost for the local economy.
Buckeye Country Superfest, scheduled at Ohio Stadium for June 20 and 21, features Blake Shelton and Rascal Flatts and is expected to bring $30 million to Columbus.
Stadium alterations have already begun for the Rolling Stones concert: bleachers on the stadium’s south side have been removed to utilize the reinforced concrete ground underneath followed by forklift and cranes that will be brought in to erect the Stones’ steel stage that travels from city to city.
That concrete ground was put in place for this very purpose after stadium renovations in 2013, although Ohio Stadium hadn’t hosted a concert since 2003.
Colin Thompson, an assistant director of operations for the Schottenstein Center, helped organize that concert and was here as well in 1997, when the Stones played their latest Ohio Stadium concert — Thompson was then a production manager with Promowest Live.
Thompson has coordinated much of the logistics for the impending Rolling Stones concert, but expects he’ll need to devise a new plan next week.
Columbus follows the opening of the Stones’ tour in San Diego on Sunday, and Thompson said the production team will send a list of changes Monday morning for the set-up.
Next week, 19 production trucks will roll into Ohio Stadium, bringing lights, sound equipment and the stage to be constructed on-site. Crews will cover the field for an on-field capacity of 6,000 people and delay towers will also be built.
During the show, production teams will consider weather conditions and fine tune the sound quality, which can be altered by humidity and wind.
The market for stadium shows “ebbs and flows,” Riggs said, and promoters can be deterred by the daunting audience capacities and the high costs associated with large venues.
Tickets for the Rolling Stones are available via Ticketmaster, starting at $48.30 with fees.